James Madison Papers

James Madison to Lafayette, 3 August 1831

Montpellier Augt. 3 1831

My dear Sir

My last letter of Decr. 12th. was written with a hope that Genl. Bernard then abt. to visit France, would be the bearer; but it did not, I suspect, overtake him. I hope however it did not miscarry altogether. I inclose this to him in confidence that it will reach New York before the Packet sails. The General is so fully acquainted with our affairs, great & small, that you can have every thing worth knowing, from his lips better than from my pen. I will remark only that the anomalous doctrines of S. Carolina & the gross exaggerations of the effects of the Tariff, altho’ apparently in a train for moor systematic support are less & less formidable to the public tranquility. S. Carolina herself is becoming moor divided; & the southern people generally moor & moor disposed to calculate the value of the Union by the consequences of disunion. In the mean time we are mortified & grieved, as you will be at the aspect which has been given to our political horizon & the affect of it, on those who cannot know that the clouds producing it are but local & transient. Our anxieties now are chiefly turned to the aspect of things on your side of the Atlantic; to the fate of Poland, its bearing on the crisis in France, & the connection of both with the general struggle between Liberty & Despotism. Imperfectly informed, as we are on many points, we wd look to your views as the best guide to our judgments & wishes; regretting that you are not nearer the helm, but persuaded that your counsels are felt by the nation whose impulse the helm must obey.

My health has not been good for several years, & I am at present suffering under an obstinate attack of Rheumatism, which you will percieve has not spared even my fingers. I could not however forego the oppty. by Genl B for whose loss we are consoled, by the services expected by his country, of expressing my unalterable affection & devoted attatchment. Mrs Madison offers at the same time her cordial regards; & we unite in extending all our best wishes to the individuals of your family.



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